Eggplant with Garlic Sauce (Yu Xiang Qiezi, 鱼香茄子)
Chinese eggplant with garlic sauce is simply irresistible! This recipe provides many tips on how to achieve an authentic taste without making it overly greasy. Substitute ideas are included.
For the eggplant
- 400 g eggplant(aubergine) 14oz, see note 1
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ tablespoon cooking oil
- 50 g minced meat (pork/beef/chicken) ⅓ cup, see note 3 for vegetarian options
- 2 tablespoon picked chili garlic sauce see note 4 & 5 for substitutes
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoon minced ginger
- 2 stalks scallions, finely chopped separate the white & green parts
Prepare the eggplant
Add the salt to a pot of water. Bring it to a full boil while slicing the eggplant into batons.
Put the eggplant into the boiling water. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes until it becomes soft (but not mushy).
Drain in a colander and press gently to remove any excess water.
Stir fry the dish
Pour oil into a hot wok over high heat. Stir in the minced meat. Fry until pale.
Add pickled chilli, garlic, ginger and white part of the scallions. Sizzle until fragrant.
Stir in the eggplant. Fry until it’s piping hot. Pour in the sauce (stir well beforehand). Stir to coat evenly.
Turn off the heat once the sauce thickens. Sprinkle the green part of the scallions. Dish out and serve immediately.
1. Chinese or Japanese eggplant (thin & long, see image in the post) works best for this recipe. If you are using globe eggplant (aka American eggplant), you may wish to peel it as the skin can be a little tough to chew.
2. For this dish, you may replace Shaoxing rice wine with regular white wine or Chinese Bai Jiu (白酒). Skip it if you wish to make this dish alcohol-free.
3. Vegetarian/vegan options:
4. Please check out my post on "Homemade pickled chili garlic sauce" for instructions. Alternatively, you may use shop-bought version (either pickled whole chilies or chopped ones). I find Spanish or Italian pickled chili peppers work fine for this dish too (Please adjust the quantity based on the spiciness of the particular pickled chili that you have). If unavailable, use fresh chilies instead.
5. You may find some recipes for this dish using Sichuan chilli bean paste instead of pickled chilli. Their tastes are quite different but both work well with eggplant. So please feel free to substitute. In this case, use 1 tablespoon of chilli bean paste and omit dark soy sauce (otherwise the dish would be too salty).
- Replace minced meat with tofu. Choose the firm type then break it into crumbs with your fingers.
- Replace minced meat with finely chopped shiitake mushrooms.
- Simply skip the minced meat.